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5 Fun Facts About December 8 In Alaska History

---Learn Every Day: AK Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ak To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska, causing one of the worst oil spills in American history. The spill released 11 million gallons of crude oil into the water, devastating local wildlife and the fishing industry. The cleanup effort took years and cost billions of dollars.

2. On December 8, 1959, Alaska officially became the 49th state of the United States. The statehood act was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower earlier that year, but it wasn't until December that the transition was complete.

3. In 1963, the world's largest earthquake ever recorded struck south central Alaska on December 8. The magnitude 9.2 quake lasted nearly five minutes and caused massive destruction across the region, with entire villages wiped out and more than 130 people killed.

4. On December 8, 1967, a fire broke out at the Faubion Elementary School in Anchorage, killing three students and injuring 80 others. The fire was caused by faulty wiring, and led to improved safety standards in schools across the state.

5. In 2018, Alaska native Mariah Cooper became the first Native American woman to graduate from Harvard Law School on December 8. Cooper, who was raised in a rural Alaskan village, overcame significant challenges to achieve her academic goals and now works as a lawyer in Anchorage.
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